Here’s how to decide when to keep your child home from school

Here’s how to decide when to keep your child home from school

Deciding whether to send a child to school or keep them home when they say they don’t feel well isn’t always easy. While some parents may wonder if their child is “faking it,” a recent Mott poll suggests quite a few parents believe their child worries about the academic consequences of missing school.

The survey findings are based on the responses of about 1,300 parents with a child between the ages of 11-18 years old. Two in three parents responded affirmatively when asked if their child has concerns about the impact of absences on their grades. Other notable findings from the results:

  • 20% of parents surveyed consider if their child needs a mental health day.
  • 22% of parents believe the attendance policy at their child’s school encourages parents to send their child to school when they are sick.

The decision to keep a child home from school can depend on so much. Dr. Laura Stoddard, a pediatrician at Aurora Health Care, offers the following tips to help parents choose:

  • If your child has had a fever greater than 101 degrees Fahrenheit in the past 24 hours, keep them home. The same recommendation goes for vomiting or diarrhea.
  • Are they coughing, sneezing and wiping a runny nose? Have them stay home to avoid spreading germs and allow them time to heal, if possible.
  • If it doesn’t seem like your child would be able to successfully make it through the day, don’t send them to school.

In the case of a mental health day, Dr. Stoddard recommends talking with your child to determine what may be going on at school that could be contributing to their stress or anxiety? Is there a big presentation coming up? Did something embarrassing happen in class? Listen to your child and work together to develop a plan for handling the specific circumstance so they don’t feel like their only option is to ask to stay home and avoid the situation.

“Don’t hesitate to reach out to your child’s pediatrician for advice,” she says. “You know your child better than anyone does, but we can offer guidance based on specific symptoms and illnesses and are always happy to connect on mental health matters.”

Are you trying to find a pediatrician? Look here if you live in Illinois. Look here if you live in Wisconsin. 

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About the Author

Holly Brenza
Holly Brenza

Holly Brenza, health enews contributor, is a public affairs coordinator on the content team at Advocate Health Care and Aurora Health Care. She is a graduate of the University of Illinois at Chicago. In her free time, Holly enjoys reading, watching the White Sox and Blackhawks, playing with her dog, Bear and running her cats' Instagram account, @strangefurthings.